Crab Fisherman

  • Theme - Local Industry
  • Year - 1955
  • Location - Cromer
  • Filmmaker - Brian Coe


This clip is from Norwich HEART's Digital Heritage Project production, 'Bon Appetit' - an appetising menu of amateur and professional archive films from Upper Normandy and East Anglia, all about food from the past.

The footage was taken in Sheringham on the North Norfolk coast in 1955. At dawn, as the film begins, crab-boats are seen being launched from the beach at Sheringham. With a two-man crew to each boat, the fishermen motor out to find their marker buoys, which signpost the location of their crab pots.The majority of the work is done once the pots have been emptied. The crabs are measured by the crew and those which are too small are tossed back into the sea.

On arrival back in Sheringham, the boats are mechanically winched up the beach, along portable runners. The crabs would then be boxed up as quickly as possible and sent to market or to local fishmongers. Others would have been processed locally and sold as crab paste.

The North Norfolk crab-fishing industry has received much media attention in the last few years, after plans to close the nearby Cromer Crab Company factories were proposed. Young’s Seafood, who owned the plant were losing money and were threatening to relocate the business to Grimsby and Scotland. Local townsfolk and national celebrities, including Stephen Fry, rallied around and contributed to the campaign to save the rapidly depleting industry, however the Company was finally forced to close and it's production moved elsewhere in August 2012. Over 100 local jobs were lost in the transition.


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